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Basketball: Greenwood Easily Tops Mount St. Mary

<p>PHOTO BY JAMIE MITCHELL</p><p>Greenwood’s Grant Morgan drives past a Little Rock Catholic defender during the first half on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, at H.B. Stewart Bulldog Arena in Greenwood.</p>

PHOTO BY JAMIE MITCHELL

Greenwood’s Grant Morgan drives past a Little Rock Catholic defender during the first half on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, at H.B. Stewart Bulldog Arena in Greenwood.

After such an emotional win on Tuesday, the last thing Greenwood coach Clay Reeves wanted to see was a letdown.

He did not need to worry.

The Lady Bulldogs scored 31 points in the first quarter as they moved one step closer to the 6A-East top seed with a 59-34 win Friday against Mount St. Mary’s Academy.

“Our kids had a good practice (Thursday) and I thought they came out and responded well tonight,” Reeves said. “It was tough (to play well) after a big game, but every game in our conference is big.

Greenwood was playing its fourth game in eight days. After playing two games last weekend in Little Rock and beating Northside 58-56 on Tuesday, getting an easy game gave Greenwood a chance to rest but also prepare for the postseason.

“We worked really hard on our conditioning in case of playing a stretch like we’ve had,” Reeves said. “Playing the consecutive nights in Little Rock was good for us when the state tournament starts.”

Greenwood (18-5, 9-3 7A/6A-Central) has a comfortable lead over Little Rock Hall in the 6A-East power ratings. A win Tuesday against Russellville will make the lead insurmountable.

“We know we’re likely the No. 1 seed, but we aren’t really worrying about that,” Reeves added. “Once it starts, it is a four-game tournament. We have players that have been through this. We take it one game at a time and not worry about what the bracket looks like.”

Four Lady Bulldogs combined for 43 of the team’s points. Brittany Branum paced Greenwood with 14 while Megan Hartness contributed 12, London Williams scored 9 and Peyton Clements added 8.

The Lady Bulldogs, which had 12 girls score, took control of the game early by scoring 15 points in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the game before the Belles finally got on the board.

Greenwood then finished the quarter on a 16-2 run to blow open the game at 31-4. Branum scored 12 in the stretch while Williams added nine for the Lady Bulldogs in the opening quarter.

“We shot the ball really well (in the first quarter) and we were able to open the game up,” Reeves said.

After that, Reeves liberally substituted the rest of the game as the Greenwood comfortably led 45-14 at halftime.

With the Lady Bulldogs leading 55-25 after three quarters, the clock ran uninterrupted in the final quarter.

Ellie Bilger scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Belles (3-21, 0-12).

Greenwood 29

Little Rock Catholic 28

BOYS — Evan Lensing drive with seven seconds left snapped a nine-game losing streak by the Bulldogs (6-16, 2-10). Before Friday, Greenwood’s last win was a 61-45 win against Southside on Jan. 14.

“We’ve been looking for that second (conference) win for a long time now,” Bulldogs coach Brian Martin said. “I am happy for our kids for finding a way. They kept fighting and did just enough to get the job done.”

Catholic’s William Hancock, who had drained a 3-pointer that gave the Rockets (4-14, 3-9) a 28-27 lead with 20 seconds left, got off a shot at the buzzer. But it rimmed off.

Greenwood trailed 10-2 with 2:38 left in the first quarter, but rallied to knot the score at 10-10 after one quarter and lead 13-12 at halftime on a 3-pointer by Lensing, who led the Bulldogs with eight points.

Samuel Greenwood paced Catholic with nine points while Hancock added eight.

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